Association of Palliative Care Consultation With Reducing Inpatient Chemotherapy Use in Elderly Patients With Cancer in Japan: Analysis Using a Nationwide Administrative Database

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The administration of chemotherapy at the end of life is considered an aggressive life-prolonging treatment. The use of unnecessarily aggressive therapy in elderly patients at the end of life is an important health-care concern.


To explore the impact of palliative care consultation (PCC) on chemotherapy use in geriatric oncology inpatients in Japan by analyzing data from a national database.


We conducted a multicenter cohort study of patients aged ≥65 years, registered in the Japan National Administrative Healthcare Database, who died with advanced (stage ≥3) lung, stomach, colorectal, liver, or breast cancer while hospitalized between April 2010 and March 2013. The relationship between PCC and chemotherapy use in the last 2 weeks of life was analyzed using χ2 and logistic regression analyses.


We included 26 012 patients in this analysis. The mean age was 75.74 ± 6.40 years, 68.1% were men, 81.8% had recurrent cancer, 29.5% had lung cancer, and 29.5% had stomach cancer. Of these, 3134 (12%) received PCC. Among individuals who received PCC, chemotherapy was administered to 46 patients (1.5%) and was not administered to 3088 patients (98.5%). Among those not receiving PCC, chemotherapy was administered to 909 patients (4%) and was not administered to the remaining 21 978 patients (96%; odds ratio [OR], 0.35; 95% confidence interval, 0.26-0.48). The OR of chemotherapy use was higher in men, young–old, and patients with primary cancer.


Palliative care consultation was associated with less chemotherapy use in elderly Japanese patients with cancer who died in the hospital setting.

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